The SFFaudio Podcast #549 – READALONG: Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #549 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Julie Davis, and Terence Blake talk about Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Talked about on today’s show:
a question on Twitter, Julie, how it even got on the schedule, A Good Story Is Hard To Find (110), June 2015, Mark Woodword, how we’ve never heard of this book, Julie’s mom, very weird, a near masterpiece of Science Fiction, Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell To Earth, David Bowie, not about music, Queen’s Gambit, The Hustler, The Color Of Money, one PDF on the PDF Page, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism, post apocalyptic, a post-capitalist society, a post-scarcity society, a downer, a slow slow slide into the long dark night, uplifting (also), the state of humanity, they way he reveres reading, enjoy an omelette, re-watching Star Trek, the Animated Series, The Next Generation, it gets better, Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Yang, take away all goals, stripping us of our humanity, drugs, hippies, an anti-marijuana book, a critique of the hippies, silent movies, a world you didn’t know, when this old man dies, a different view, Spoforth, pensioning off Paul, reading is not valued, Paul teaches Mary how to read, looking for pornography, he was teaching pornography and mindfulness, a savage critique, who’s the mockingbird?, he wants to know what’s going on, genuine examples of humanity, Julie is being so mean to Paul, Paul in the book, Bentley, spaw-forth or spoof-forth (and multiply), struck to the heart, revealed as the villain, he’s not even sure it’ll work, kill humanity to kill ones’ self, kinda dark, sympathetic, did he intend to kill the child right from the start?, detector, a lot of twists, no diary, a hard shift, switches to Mary Lou, I don’t like this book anymore, not who I imagined her to be, love as a projection, maybe she was blind to herself, or emotionally repressed, when he gets thrown in prison, hanging out with the baleens, a horror novel, shifting around, an impressive world, standard mainstream good writing, built up this whole world, premises are revealed to us, is he a bad guy, an abortionist, destroy humanity, he didn’t invent the system, he’s cursed with an inability to die, massive, a total dystopia, Brave New World‘s children, Huxley was optimistic, self immolation, political protest, a political act, a religious act, a sacrifice, people can’t string ideas together, going to the same cafe, they’re singing, what is the motivation, psychology, Annabelle, SEARS as a church, A Boy And His Dog (1975), a revelation, different genres, my pet Biff, New York City, the Adam and Eve theme, story is how we find truth, books get us in touch with other minds, what a masterpiece, have you got to the monkey bacon yet?, bacon for monkeys?, clever ideas going on, a lot of biblical stuff, this is Jonah, he’s vomited out, the thought buses are like the friends in Job, they’re something else, that thought wasn’t finished, the true inhabitants of the city, a line relevant to our times, cars were promulgated by a cabal of oil manufacturers, dealing with the consequences of a world we never made, a mass transportation system, look very deeply back at old stuff at the time, reading TV Guide from 1980, it’s fascinating, yo, a good magazine about the technology of TV, what television will be like in 1990, they kinda nailed it, gay behavior will be more popular, the trends we see here, the 1980 Olympics in Russia, the invasion of Afghanistan, anyone who would invade Afghanistan is obviously a monster, the fossils of a previous generation, A Streetcar Named Desire, streetcars around the world, one more reason to go to Nice (France), I say that in Jes(t), she picks a fruit, its artificial, what they’re being taught in school, quick sex is best, it comes from the same place, reconstructed all the greatness in science fiction, a mainstream book with a deeply science fiction world behind it, the zoo is all fake, even the children are fake, the Adam and Eve thing, when he comes back to Marylou, Jesus!, Mary, the notion of felix culpa (the fortunate fall), remembering her action, he explicitly remembers, it isn’t going to be as bad as you think, thank you Terence, so loaded, Spoforth is a good carpenter, the poem from T.S. Eliot, the songful simian, a Christ figure, the little sparrow, like the end of Blade Runner when Roy Batty dies, the same problem in the other direction, a sort of love, joy, compassion, influenced?, a lot of Philip K. Dick elements, artificial emotions, the symmetry trick that works every time, it’s beautiful, an act of mercy and love, the poor guy, condemned to Hell on Earth, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, I Am, keep sliding towards oblivion, actively seeking death, the mercy that he wants the mercy he’s trying to give humanity, the behavior of humans is not good, an Arthur C. Clarke vibe, The City And The Stars, that world is perfectly broken, the only thing you can do is appreciate the abstract, blotchy moving colour shapes and sounds, no more music, the heart and the center of the book, the robot toaster factory, a whole novel, a mindless parody of productivity, those grey uniformed sub-morons that all look like Peter Lorre, and then he fixed them, suddenly people are getting toasters again, the warmth and the light (a preview), its a rebirth, what happened in real-life that you didn’t see on twitter, looking for stuff on Netflix, Year One (2009), cave man comedies, fur bikinis, One Million B.C. (1940), science fiction stories, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling, The Wonderstick by Stanton A. Coblentz, the wonder of the wheel the wonder of the stick, a retelling of the bible, Harold Ramis plays Adam, David Cross is Kane as Paul Rudd is Abel, that tree of knowledge, only the mockingbird sings at the edge of the woods, that’s really powerful, all the characters, Simon, the alternative father for Marylou, why she’s so different, monstrous and straight out of Brave New World, we recognize all this biblical stuff, you get both, there’s gotta be something out there, an The Brick interview with Walter Tevis, it felt very Lawrence Block-y, “Mockingbird’s about coming out of alcoholism.”, “But I don’t do any outlin­ing. I don’t do any researching. I was tempted while writing Mockingbird to start watching silent movies, you know, and see if I could pick some interesting stuff to use, and I realized that would’ve been just a dodge to avoid the type­writer. So I never research anything.”

LD: You paint a pretty bleak picture in terms of lit­eracy in Mockingbird.

WT: It comes from twenty-five years of being an English teacher.

RW: Do you see a decline in literacy? I do, but do you?

WT: Oh, you hear about it a lot. Yes, I’ve seen it a bit, but my private experience as an English teacher has been that Americans don’t read books. They didn’t read books in 1949 when I started teaching. They don’t read books now Television did make a difference. It deepened the slack of the slackjaws and gave another great quantity of garbage for people to fill their lives with. But, you know, there was other garbage around before television. Mockingbird does sometimes, I think, weaken into an attack solely on television and on the modern world, and “weaken” I say because I’m not completely convinced of all those things that I say. But what I am convinced of is that it is very bad for people to find substitutes for living their lives, and that’s what I hope I do say, and say well, from time to time in the book.

reading is the tool that opened up his mind and taught him how to think, a photograph of notes to the editor, the surprise that she’s going to narrate, destructive to our view of his wonderful relationship, she came to appreciate him, he forgot her too, what they had wasn’t super-deep, she was Dante’s Beatrice, Edward Hopper, there’s no door in Nighthawks, alone together, some lady sitting on a bed looking out a window, beautifully painted, what makes us care about his paintings is the emotions in these characters, the emotions that make Hopper’s paintings so powerful, a criticism of the kind of television being shown in the book, stimulating arrangements of color form and design, the psychedelic, Tevis’ take on Hopper’s quote, yeah exactly, four things you can get from films (books), manipulating one’s mental states, a means of learning something about the past, why memory is not enough, sympathizing with other people from other times, knowing about other people’s feelings you discover your own feelings, he captures that experience, jokes from 200 years ago, a line that crystallizes something you’ve always known but never seen before, before Plato, the only book he never reads is Gone With The Wind, See Spot Run, the alphabet is arbitrarily ordered, this is science fiction, the scene in Frankenstein where the creature learns how to read and speak, Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, his creation book (Frankenstein’s lab notes), this is a Frankenstein-fixed story, the creation of the world, how to service robots and thought-buses, a masterpiece, nature is always pulled in, puzzling over how to fix the thought-bus, a large dramatic spiderweb, the moon, made of pure light, the elaboration and power of life that could make such a design, this makes me feel something, Julie’s favourite Psalm is Psalm 19, so mysterious, the way you hold that cup, so much bigger, the human experience, he wrote it for us, the earlier scene with the spiderweb, the court is a plastic building, you go clean the judge’s face, yellow powder, they all have the same look on their face, the system turns on and gears up, other prisoners, the prison sequence, I didn’t see this coming, Belasco, tattoos, Queequeg!, rule breakers, paintings of trees and birds, have a fire on the beach, as free as people in that world can be, a temptation to stay there?, the escape itself, a community of people to help him toughen up, the beginning of his journey, The Handmaid’s Tale. reading is powerful, the way we got there, our own fucking laziness, go along get along, rage rage rage against the machine, read a fucking book, you’ll like it it’s good, not just shore-dinners, a so coddled society, memorizing your life, a kind of writing, a book that feels like its in dialogue with Fahrenheit 451, drop out communities, finding the libraries (it’s treasure!), insistence of family and community, Annabelle becomes his mother, enriched by other communities, great risks to my individuality, the robots who taught me, yup, individualistic, you’re not letting me help anyone, a balance, a really good job of pointing that stuff out, it doesn’t feel like a sermon, super-funny, Buster Keaton, he’s baptized in the mall, the SEARS (catalogue) was a big part of Jesse’s life in 1980, a book of pictures of things, the world in the background economically makes sense, could you game in this world?, a survival game, rebuild society, back to board-games, Scrabble, role-playing games, a very New York thing to do, California, The Last Chase (1981), how the credit card system worked, the pricing, what are they teaching in those classrooms?, yoga and meditation?, sopors, soma, give yourself to the screens, Terence is right!, social media, stream everything, everybody is literate now (to read stop signs and instructions), people who never read anything (maybe a magazine once a year), a super-nice person, what is wrong with you, there are these parallel societies, Anabelle is that representation, part of this is looking at creativity, Spoforth wasn’t creative but he learned, Exhalation Stories: (The Lifecycle Of Software Objects) by Ted Chiang, the whole him trying to find his earlier incarnation, recapture what he had lost from his earlier mind, in the dream, its a baby, just before he dies, the missing peice in the puzzle of his dream, in Westworld for recipe for an intelligent robot is a reverie, the reverie we get from literature, its made him more human, he’s trying trying trying, another element of information, what humanizes him, he felt love, the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen, I love you, still strange, the mockingbird sings from the edge of the woods, Scott Danielson, “Whose woods these are I think I know”, the mockingbird is the creative artist, always in association with creativity, a deepening sadness, more creative than we give him credit for?, the boy’s drawings, it works on multiple levels, the fake, the marginal, mocking, a mockery of a man, the emotions of a man and he can’t connect, this mock level, mockingbird songs, things stung together, Tevis is the mockingbird, there’s this hybridization, a very literary book, To Kill A Mockingbird, it sings its heart out, to deal with race again, is it because you’re a black man, it’s 1978, the most advanced beautiful man ever, he was the pinnacle and they made him a black man, still enslaved, in his dream his feet are white, Typee by Herman Melville, an Anabelle like character, only one person’s working hard all day line, Bentley see this as an injustice, is it an injustice?, her choice, making something of value, cooking is work, its still good to feed the kids (even if they can’t thank you), making the mistake of thinking humans are all one way, objectivism, let’s be greedy together, reading Ayn Rand, is Anthem a rip-off of We, moms being moms, I’m a loner, everybody’s talking to each other all the time, invading privacy is the worst thing, it was the robots that did it, the society happened almost by accident, quite beautiful, we fall into the trap of amusing ourselves to death, John Savage likes pain, they twist it against him, “that’s illegal”, those people are all around us, he had his stash, dumping herself full of Valium, him living in her house, thank your mom for us, how many people heard about it through you through her through this podcast, Marissa would have been here very happily, the Westworld connection, good choice, thank you!

Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

The SFFaudio Podcast #542 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Exhalation: Stories: What’s Expected Of Us by Ted Chiang

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #542 – What’s Expected Of Us from Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang; This is an unabridged reading of What’s Expected Of Us (6 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Penguin Random House Audio audiobook of Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang.

participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Wayne June, and Terence Blake

Talked about on today’s show:
his second collection, 17 years to come out, The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, squint hard, a lot of them have a focus on children, he had some kids?, a theme, teaching and growing, parenting, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, a science fiction story with mimetic fiction problems, Dacy’s Patent Automatic Nanny, childrearing, not the major theme, background thought processes, fate and destiny, an abiding theme, care and caring, finding truths closer to home, The Great Silence, dissecting one’s own brain, straight up science fiction, Kim Stanley Robinson, you fools, you’re wasting your life, Paul could rant, set on spaceships, making sense of reality, a test subject for another star, they’re all standouts, its not our universe, a creationist universe, a dread discovery, the center of the universe is elsewhere, Earth as a prototype for someone else, an epistolary manner, a crisis of faith, Poul Anderson, a mixed relationship, life after death, finding a way to be comfortable with that fact, approaching the subject of entropy, the universe is winding down, nobody is going to live forever, comforting ideas, all just whistling past the graveyard, a positive conclusion about it, how do you look into the abyss and come away with a happy attitude, be happy on the way down, Oomphalos, I’m in charge now, now she has free will, he explores free will from every direction, the audiobook from Tantor, it took a long time for audiobooks to become the dominant medium for people who actually read, I don’t get many ideas, most reviewers on YouTube: booktubers?, a whole universe of people, people who read books are really weird, every week you wanna be reading a new book? what a weirdo, the New York Times bestseller, books not designed to be read, overwritten, as any right thinking person would, these should be longer, very presumptuous, I want more of this, throwing down idea much bigger than the package he places them in, Wayne liked the shortest stories best, educated super-intelligent, deep thought, rigorous self-examination, tedious, on and on and on, 48 minutes, The Lifecycle Of Software Of Objects, concentrated science fiction, two drops in a cup of water, what it means, navel, center, a role playing anecdote, the enemy is the they (the center of the universe), we’re the center of the universe, The Middle Kingdom, Middle Sea, everywhere is the center, everybody’s stupid because their vision is so limited, a young earth, a parallel in our own history, reason for belief, mummies with no navels, obviously not created, his guiding philosophy, if there was a miracle, its on rails, preodomites, other people, The Truth Of Fact The Truth Of Feeling, deeply profound, a Black Mirror episode, some colonial guy getting colonized, writing and reading, auto text generator, no periods, Roman monuments used dots not spaces, pre-modern Chinese, getting it from context, cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphs, right in Jesse’s zone, Bros. Grimm concertizing, once in book form, Jesse doesn’t really take notes, one of the things going on, going back to an oral culture, Socrates, cost effective, the Romans were into copying and photo-copying each other’s works, questioning the nature of truth and reality, really cool, what truth is, Scott and Jesse conversations on truth, people complaining about truth, he’s more truthful about his lying, politician lying, not a wise man, wiser than some of the fools that have been so smart in the past, he was not the same, name recognition, you know exactly what his motivation is, truth is not one thing, your own memory of what reality was, science as being replicable, that whole diatribe, truth is that what is, there is an objective truth, we hope, touch the Eiffel Tower, a subjective conclusion, the objective truth, defining truth, relativistic, its subtle, tirade harangue fulmination, discursive, who designed it?, maybe he stole that plan, the more you don’t examine and are unable to reexamine stuff…, religious truth, truths which motivation action, William James, pragmatism, because it was false, smoke sacrifice to the gods was meaningless, intersecting with other science fiction stories, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, king of your own planet, a real estate story, jack hammering off the coast of Labrador, a Nazi universe, Genghis Khan, mythological pseudo-historical figure, the universe does and doesn’t care about you, making a connection with science, those most interested in religion were scientists, Isaac Newton, the original Bible Code person, the impact might have been diluted, these people don’t die, there is no biology, this culture built up around air-stations, eating as a cultural event, if you get this you can tell the story, The Nine Billion Names Of God and The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, sacrificed, hits Paul in the feels, the three narcissistic wounds, Sigmund Freud, the Earth is not the center, Darwin and evolution, that the ego thinks it is free is an illusion, strong with archaeological proofs, freedom, no final answer, interesting concepts, Olaf Stapledon, a whole book from one paragraph of Starmaker, Jorge Luis Borges, The Library Of Babel, standing room for sleeping, why this illusory duplication, this is not our world, there’s no food, they’re more like robots in a certain sense, all the argon is coming to them from something beneath them, who invented the robots?, a blank slate, the robot equivalent, an analogy of the heat death of the universe, “we existed we were real”, a self contained universe, a navel gazing story, working the same theme, Jesus in South America (the God of Dreams) [The Circular Ruins], teaching the A.I.s consciousness, self-dissecting, a good example that doesn’t exist in the same way as ours does, the transference between universes, the prism, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, Until The End Of The World (1999), replaying your dreams, so much about them, the perfect obsessive movie for you, gazing into who you are, the machine allows you to navel gaze, fomo = fear of missing out, the grass is greener, a simple idea, fragmenting kaleidoscopic versions of reality, only a few months old and it was going up in value, diminishing returns, amazing sparky thoughts, pirated songs, I’d make so much money, information is the only thing passed between universes, copyrighted specifically for you, the same wound, possible yous, not being paralyzed, why not?, one of me is going to do it, destroys your ordinary criteria for action, a high dose of neg-entropy, the school shooters, what effect would it have, Jesse derives solace from being (sort of) a determinist, science fiction about the difficulty of weather prediction, are there more murders now?, outliers, fads, more of the same, All The Myriad Ways by Larry Niven, you might lose your will to do things, What’s Expected Of Us, whichever universe you’re in, Vanessa, an unstable person, Counterpart, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, as Evan pointed out on his podcast, the universe is very small, seeing what’s going on outside, they’re all blending together, he thought he had done so much work, that’s much to harsh, words can sometimes resonate very deeply, the non-simple truth, a reality we are distantly connected to, poor connections, emergent things, to know what truth is (is tough), a longer meditation, the longest thing he’s ever written, either these people are wasting their lives or we’re all wasting our lives, where’s the truth there WAYNE?, to leap into agnosticism, relate to our interpretation of reality, we can only do what we can do, the motif of harmful sensation, The Imp Of The Perverse, physical or mental damage you can suffer, explicitly shoutsout to H.P. Lovecraft, akinetic mutism, won’t or can’t speak or won’t or can’t move, the motif of harmful sensation, a truly convincing argument that life is pointless might qualify, it doesn’t matter, a thread running through (or more than one), Ted Chiang has got a brain, the Lovecraftian horror, like a cognitive plague, a thought that explores the thinker, a Godel sentence, I try to act as if or rather action happens, pretend you have free will, believing the lie is the only way to avoid this waking coma, civilization relies on self-deception (perhaps it always has), The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, living it, this universe might have slipped into equilibrium with nothing more than a quiet hiss, that in itself is beauty, in the next bottle over, the Complete Works of Shakespeare except it’s “Shmamlet”, the meaning is fake, Paul’s fear, robot descendants,

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

not a horror story but a science fiction truth, truths always in refinement, David Hume, past behavior, Robert Wright’s interview with Ted Chiang, The Story Of Your Life, a silly seeming story, Arrival, are you going to roll up into a little ball or are you going to affirm it?, the pharmacon, poison and medicine, make you a paralyzed mute or a creative, it takes all that time or that care to make that stuff literary, Wayne’s in a little ball, Wayne’s gonna complain, some stuff’s going to happen, get some jokes in there, WTF, we’re all gonna be specks in a layer of basalt, Tony C. Smith’s StarShipSofa, a Ted Chiang fan forever now, four stories, nested stories, Arabian Nights, Scheherazade, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, The Garden Of Forking Paths, you can read it forever, a story that’s circular, in the exact middle you have a point around which everything swirls, the knowledge for where the treasure under the tree came from, super symmetrical, so wonderful, a time travel story in which there’s no technological difference, no traditional time travel tropes, there’s no predicting eclipse, he steals from himself, he predicts the albino baby and gets out of prison, The Diamond Necklace or The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, there’s the pit of despair, the story is the treasure, we as the prince get the benefit, why the title is Exhalation: Stories, The Great Silence, John Paul Sartre with possible worlds, Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny, whatever works is true, the suppression of this technology because of the ruling class, nowhere for that to go, a remaking of humanity, thinking about childrearing while childrearing, mimetic fiction is all about divorces, my experience with my marriage, different parents have different levels of interest in their own child’s rearing, would have benefited the working class, the washing machine is liberatory, television as the babysitter, smartphones, is that wrong, a typical Ted Chiang thing, an actual syndrome: psychosocial dwarfism, growth hormones stop operating, emotional malnutrition, not an ideal human state, really bougie, homeschooling, unschooling, the class dimension, a survival strategy, a metaphor for public schooling, The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, Nanny by Philip K. Dick, the planned obsolescence angle, aloof parents, more attached to the nanny than to the parents, gladiatorial nannies, what if they trigger while raising the kids, if you follow police state logic, hands are dangerous weapons, tape their mouths up, and kill everybody (to be safe), the rational childcare device, a more cutesy vignette

reading, or being read, Ted Chiang stories, is like quaffing pure liters of undiluted SCIENCE FICTION from the fount in which it was first forged. And I tell you, without hyperbole, that Science Fiction absolutely cannot die as long as TED CHIANG lives and writes it.

asking and posing the big questions, natural science, parallel universes, asking questions, collecting and systematizing, that guy we didn’t like, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, “proving things”, weapons of mass destruction, 17 intelligence agencies, how can we falsify this?, holy shit he was right!, thought experiments, thinking them through completely, exploring a philosophical point, you can’t do it with mimetic fiction, what happens if…, that’s what they all are, the author afterwords offer insight, that I’m taking my head apart scene, a reverse infodump, we can’t understand ourselves, arguments like proverbs (suck), limiting understanding, refusing that limit, there’s no Godellian self-impossibility, what Dick does, almost like a drug metaphor, the thought’s he’s having and the thoughts he’s expressing, if you want to get into a big fight, tell me my hand is not my hand, memory, Hal, the difference, Ted Chiang doesn’t have this paranoia, adjacent to technology, the guy measuring the ether, how do we know what we know, the art installation for The Great Silence, Alex the talking parrot, very emotional, their beak is kind of their hand, emotional realities, those Alex videos, a whole other mind we have access to through regular English, these humans are looking for intelligence in the universe, the search for terrestrial intelligence, pretty cool, kinda heartbreaking, the whole Alex thing, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams, Arecibo, it hears the voice of creation, the lasting breath, spirit as the breath of God, the breath is not me, he’s having it both ways, these copper plates, audio versus text, in another five years, Wayne would personally recommend the book and the audiobook, here’s where I got the idea, at the end of every story, as a collection, this book we can hand off to people, I feel stupid when I’m reading stupid, reading this makes me feel like I’m the genius that I am, I’m sophisticated, I’m so stupid, not having brilliant ideas all day long, a guy practicing his words for his sermon, thinking on aloud, thinking on paper, writing therapy, cast them out of you, people are made of stories.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #521 – READALONG: The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #521 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe talk about The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Talked about on today’s show:
David Stifel, more explicitly racist, some language, chinks, a dago with affection, a class thing, an interesting book to look at, its about class, Japanese headhunters, isolates, out of time, they might as well be on Mars, historical context, yellow peril, American aristocracy, Burroughs is relaxing and enjoyable, licensees, defenders of the estate, a massively loyal older fanbase, old websites absolutely dedicated to Edgar Rice Burroughs, he threw all of this together, it goes down so easily, so fun, not everything has to be deep and profound, very comparable to Herman Melville’s Typee, a travelogue, protagonists on headhunting islands, the differences couldn’t be larger, the whole appendix, Tarzan, the Mars novels, action beats, adventure, man against the world, surprised by the ending of The Mucker, hooligan brawler, alcoholism, he walks away, easy to miss, the pattern repeats itself, Lord Greystoke, civilized, A Princess Of Mars, dating a princess, marrying a princess, a lowest class Chicago hoodlum cannot ascend, aristocracy is the word, reformed by this aristocratic figures, Derrier vs. Theriere, models for our anti-hero (hero), acting heroic, an interesting attack, Billy Byrne’s upbringing, trying to make a sociological point, taking it seriously, Jack London, similar characters, working class vulgar, class switching, a researcher in the slums of California, bougie academic jobs, Martin Eden, learning how to speak from the middle class, The Iron Heel, this reformist agenda, a working class story, the underclass, Studs Lonigan trilogy, ennui about capitalism, a descent, awakened into his heroic character, underplaying the role of Theriere, Mallory, Barbara, which classes are represented, the captain of the ship, The Call Of The Wild, the story arc of Buck, a pampered king, a slave, free in a new way, the man with the red sweater, the power of man over beast, physical abuse from his mom, no friends only heroes, thieves and murderers, very Burroughsian in its romance, island paradise, an island within an island, what was Burroughs thinking?, love for dogs and girls and falling in love, very romantic, swords and sandals and radium pistols, the romance of friendship, getting emotional, they start crying, brother and mother animals, in this process of transformation, not even the main character, his epithet, Billy was a mucker, a term that survives, a term that was in use, covered in shit, to muck out stalls, low-class person, that dirt doesn’t rub off, he fixes his grammar, improving oneself by improving one’s grammar, act like the class you’re moving into, Google N-Gram, those guys in the muck, the trauma, the most dignified sons of our nation, indiscriminate, shells and gas, the sudden reform, abstaining from alcohol, reflective of the minds of people in 1913, the progressive era, urban problems, prostitutes and drunkard, sewer socialism, clean up the city, the temperance movement, rural alcoholism is less conspicuous, in reading about drugs, the history of drugs, misidentifying the power of a drug in its ascendancy, smoking cigarettes, clamped down, personal virtue, western Canada, vaping is taking off, vaping in the bathroom, the smoking pit, they were the bad ones, the same drug, we don’t have our defenses up, a nice artifact, gangs in the street, his kindergarten, a metaphor, a dented bucket of beer, a bunch of thugs, a certain class of people, why was Theriere disgraced?, class-based, cheap and social, the health benefits, working class leisure, the work ethic, a lot of paranoia about drugs is about people not working, marijuana, John Barleycorn, drinking at a young age, part of working life, you couldn’t function with drink, getting you past the pain, no empathy, empathy for the manliness, John Carter is insane, psychosis and confabulation, Stephen R. Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane, Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, hybrid samurai cannibals, I was promised cannibals, Popeye: The Sailor Man, I am what I am and that’s all that I am, break out the spinach, a professor, the science of boxing, Joe Rogan and Mike Tyson, a low class guy with drug addicted parent, using anger and hate to make him a monster, Japanese endogamy, a lost colony of Japan, medieval age samurais, samurai headhunters?, The Land That Time Forgot, inbreeding, the late Ashikaga daimyo, a lawless frontier, uninhabited islands, the image, Madame Butterfly, all those islands, something interesting there, The Philippines, cultural relics, the War in the Pacific, how it is science fictional, most explicitly SFF related, Tarzan is about the blank slate, natural experiments, wild children, getting on a ship and seeing what’s there, the Pacific is spaceship and space and island worlds allowing you to have adventures, Planet Stories, F&SF, Galaxy magazine, transferable from the ocean to space, Ted Chiang, the chemistry and biology, one little weird tick, the monsters, the father and the son, all for the sake of allowing Billy to have his adventures, who is the intended audience, selling it to a pulp, some people appreciated it, I wanna make some money, selling to the workman, this cool looking train heist, by the guy who wrote Tarzan, Burroughs is trying to find out what sells, his version of a Yellow Peril story, San Fransisco, tongs, the ship action, learning to be a sailor, Robert E. Howard’s Sailor Steve Costigan, muscled doofuses with good hearts, the sailor tough-guy, the way Popeye talks, a strange guy with a tattoo, the middle classes have tattoos, sailors made this a thing, weird tattoos, its a prison thing, sailors looking at each other’s tattoos, anchor tattoo, the anime character that they like, the heart of the Yellow Peril anxiety, the Yellow Peril is a fake threat that’s fun to think about, they’re out-breeding us and they’re smarter than us, laws against intermarriage, medieval military savagery, relapsed into primitive ignorance, racial hierarchy, white yellow brown black and red, Chinese eugenicists, degenerated by intermingling, slavs, miscegenation, he fails to interbreed with the upper-class, in the sequel, bandits in Mexico, The Oakdale Affair, Two Dooms by Cyril M. Kornbluth, wrong about everything, a Hopi Indian, full of Asians, yellow peril-y, this is really stupid, taking our land and our women, save American from these threats, fun storytelling, so fake as to be not worthy of attention, the Fu-Manchu stories, The Mysterious Dr Fu Manchu, Hong Kong, an anti-colonialist narrative, Nyland and Petrie are boring, the one with the principles, so devilishly ambitious and smart, as a genre, red scare books, yellow peril is both up and down, interest in the East, Judge Dee, Robert van Gulik, Red Scare, Red Dawn (1984), we need breeding programs!, they tried to remake -> Red Dawn (2012), Cubans running around in Africa, we would like to be so organized, the brotherhood of man, no classes, an Australian red-peril yellow-peril movie, Tomorrow, When The War Began (2010), taboo, the white ghost, coming from a place of ignorance, don’t use that word, you have to use the right word for it, its not the actions, change the terminology, too ignorant, that top down acceptance, I’ll live on Park Avenue and he’ll live across the street, a fantasy world in a hollow in the woods, it becomes important to him, as real as anything else in this book, an unreal inside of an unreal, jockeying for whose going to marry this girl, a prize to be won, Burroughs makes active women, her knowing Japanese, give her something to do, something more to it?, this image of the Pacific, the centerpiece of the American Empire, not that preposterous, fantasy world, technocrats, Obama’s kids learning Chinese, training for the ruling class, German lessons, Legend Of Tarzan (2016), no origin story, just a Tarzan story, Tarzan was his moneymaker, trying to deal with a real horror, Belgian Congo, Tarzan in Heart Of Darkness, the villain is a historical character, Léon Rom, white savior, undignified, he and his friends don’t have hands they have mitts or paws, the mean streets, tribalistic, a book about psychological change, accepting vs. changing, married to a red princess, red indians, dealing with race (badly), Mowgli, all class, to make Billy all the tougher, they’re vicious, how many times his pistol fails him, mortal injuries, shakes it off and keeps going, it has no effect, primal brutality, one other racial element, the tracking ability of a red indian, from an era that is thinking about race all the time, its fun interesting and easy, not high art, entertaining, breezy, relaxing, all on the surface, this artifact from a period when you can get shanghaied, all the tropes, I’d like to get shanghaied!, the Taiping rebellion, emigrant cities, nationalist nonsense, regional cultures, Sisters And Strangers: Women In The Shanghai Cotton Mills, 1919-1949 by Emily Honig, an immigrant city, the prototype of Chinese cities, ethnic groups, the Chinese revolutions are about class, nationalism in the context of empire, the Nationalists, the Communists, the national bourgeoisie, intellectual purges, class politics in China, the global proletariat, the Boxer Rebellion, uphold the Ching, a gendered movement, the traditional family is holding back our progress, concubinage, the most oppressed women in human history, too much into Chinese history, the exotic East, how the West sees the Cultural Revolution, the massive factory, in the news, extraditing the head of Huawei, getting between the major super-powers, The Breaker.News podcast, The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, a treaty port, majority not-white, theBreaker.news Podcast, a sign of the times.

All-Story Weekly, October 24, 1914 - THE MUCKER

The Mucker dustjacket

The Mucker, page 8

The Mucker, page 109

The Mucker

The Mucker - illustration by Frank Frazetta

BOOKS IN MOTION - The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Mucker comic strip

Billy Byrne: The Mucker from The Greatest Adventure

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #519 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #519 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about new paperbooks, audiobooks, audio drama, and comics.

Talked about on today’s show:
it stacks up, yo!, a book for review?, 10-15 books a week!, Mr Slow, a good result, Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee, Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty To Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski will be narrated by Peter Jurasik, no Centauri accent, a yummy sausage, why do book titles end :A Novel, making yourself more fancy, a literary pretension, The Luminous Dead: A Novel?, Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan, a rhyme or reason to their thinking, serious literature, why do we need to know that?, the middle initial, affectation, pen names, standard hat, maybe it works?, superpower, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast review of Thin Air, mean Martian tunnels, two books in one box, a duology that came together, Markswoman and Mahimata by Rati Mehrotra, secondary world fantasy, audio of the first book, 11 hours, The Luminous Dead: A Novel by Caitlin Starling, it sounds good, caving on a foreign planet, spelunking, The Descent (2005), caves of New York, Minnesota, South Dakota, maps and caves, two cool maps, Dungeons & Dragons maps, The Nameless City by H.P. Lovecraft, Annihilation, The Martian, Adenrele Ojo, The Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix E. Harrow, portal fantasy, H.G. Wells’ The Door In The Wall, time travel stories as portal fantasies, Dilation by Max Hochrad, very high level, what exactly is going on, a much bigger world than we get to see, world-building to serve the story, an elf on a log, the trailer for Dilation, Do You Want To Know More?, B7 Media, Spiteful Puppet did Robin Of Sherwood audio drama, Big Finish, new Doctor Who, so many Doctors, more visually going on with sound, BBC iPlayer Radio App or BBC Sounds, The Prisoner is really good, sitting with the ideas, Patrick McGoohan, it becomes existential, exploration, the purpose and meaning of things, Mabinogi, ancient Welsh mythology, spending time 1000 years ago, the only thing comparable in North America is the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, The Lurking Fear audio drama is coming this summer, C.H.U.D.s, more audio drama, so much great audio drama is being made, our job, there’s too much, an intended 1984 dystopia, what exactly is going on, Dragonshadow: A Heartstone Novel by Elle K. White, The Coming Storm by Mark Alpert, feeling like a techno-thriller, political dystopic, climate change, Travelers, Tom Clancy books, turn that flag upside down, House Of Cards, Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin, the TV adaptation, the Michael Praed movie of Nightflyers (1987), Children Of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children Of time, how Paul manages to read paperbooks, no time for papercomics, UK authors, is there more money in audio than in paper?, only in audio releases, Audible.ca vs. Audible.com, The Pandora Room by Christopher Golden, Pandora’s box, The Phantom Empire 1935 serial, a western science fiction, Flash Gordon 1936 serial, yellowfacing, and Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu, Machete, Hobo With A Shotgun, he’s from Mongo, Last Tango In Cyberspace: A Novel by Steven Kotler, something William Gibson wrote about a protagonist named “Case” (or Cacye), coolhunters, leaning tight, The Fire Opal Mechanism by Fran Wilde, magical jewels and people who resonate with them, a fun read, We Are Mayhem by Michael Moreci, Black Star Renegades, everybody likes Star Wars right?, robots and space battles, a 5 page glossary, a galactic rebellion, its exactly Star Wars, doing it your own way, since watching The Orville, Star Trek: Discovery‘s bad writing and not caring about science, Star Wars has a lot of baggage, killed off on a whim, Mark Hamill, answering honestly, wipe the slate clean, I shouldn’t walk out of the Star Wars experience and say “Really?”, going down the midichlorian walk, like Dune but awful, Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, just change the VIN, what a concept!, they don’t need Klingons, The Orville is great science fiction, I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist, epic fantasy, The Rage Of Dragons by Evan Winter, epic fantasy, a peculiar audiobook, Jesse’s mom does not know him, A Peculiar Curiosity by Melanie Cossey, speaking of being read to…, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Rainn Wilson, for adults?, jumping to the island of conclusions, Paul would not say no, For The Killing Of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones, The Three Musketeers meets the Chronicles of Amber, Paul does pre-orders, deep explorations are not always needed, looking for fun, fantasy fun, an oversized hardcover from AfterShock Comics Out Of The Blue by Garth Ennis and Keith Burns, the war between, The Punisher, Nick Fury, TKO Presents, Sara by Garth Ennis and Steve Epting, Marvel Comics, Conan The Barbarian, Savage Sword Of Conan, Age Of Conan: Belit, Belit’s adventures as a young princess, why always starting as princesses?, go a-reaving, The Savage Sword Of Conan: The Original Marvel Years 1000 pages, Roy Thomas, new stuff from old stuff, Fleet Of Knives by Gareth L. Powell, Embers Of War, its better than it sounds, Ack-Ack Macaque, lots-o-fun, space opera, Powers Of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula by Bram Stoker and Valdimar Ásmundsson, R.C. Bray, a little bit of sexiness, a strange sidebar, The Record Keeper by Agnes Gomillion, Titan Books, he or she is doing everything, maybe its a house name, the technospace where you get house names to narrate, face-swap -> audio-swap, the Christopher Lee narrating a book from 2029, creepy cool, Chatting Science Fiction: Selected Interviews From The Hour Of The Wolf, WBAI, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Samuel R. Delany, Cory Doctorow, Ray Bradbury, Nalo Hopkinson, Peter S. Beagle, China Mieville, Orson Scott Card, Lucius Shepard, Nancy Kress, Ken Liu, Charlie Jane Anders, Genevieve Valentine, Susanna Clarke, Connie Willis, a curiosity, Larry Niven books turning to audiobooks, A Gift From Earth, World Of Ptavvs, Bronson Pinchot, The Moon Maze Game a new Dream Park novel, Grover Gardner, a new cover, our show on Dream Park, Inconstant Moon, a classic, Steve Barnes, The Seascape Tattoo, The Magic Goes Away episode, All The Myriad Ways, The Secret Of Black Ship Island, Jerry Pournelle, The Burning City pissed Paul the beep off, blunt and pointed, senility setting in, Building Harlequin’s Moon, Brenda Cooper, does it spark delight?, terraforming, everyone starts regressing, Brenda Cooper does good writing with Larry Niven, set in the Ringworld universe, The Integral Trees, The Smoke Ring, physics problems, an adventure to explore what ideas Larry Niven has spun up, you definitely need to do this one and here’s why:, Bowl Of Heaven, The Very Best Of the Best: 35 Years Of The Year’s Best Science Fiction edited by Gardner Dozois, Charles Stross, Michael Swanwick, Nancy Kress, Greg Egan, Stephen Baxter, Pat Cadigan, 3 2 1, Exhalation: Stories By Ted Chiang, a new collection of Ted Chiang, Random House Audio, some copy that lives up to the hype, Ted Chiang: A Novel, Tony C. Smith’s StarShip Sofa podcast, an amazing story, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, standard Ted Chiang awesomeness, every three or four years he writes a story, the anti-Ken Liu, finally justified, REAL science fiction, GENUINE, “proto-technology of nano-realms”, Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson, Paul’s in a mood, INTERSTELLAR VOYAGES ARE IMPOSSIBLE, a hard truth, Aurora, the Chinese are going to the Moon, a really, really good writer, Jesse is so slow, In The Land Of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales by Lord Dunsany, edited by S.T. Joshi, Steven Crossley, pub tales, Dunsany is beautiful to hear, Clark Ashton Smith, funny and bittersweet tragic fun, LibriVox, one of these books, Who? by Algis Budrys, The Man In The Iron Mask, never made the A-team, the low end of the b-team, his biggest home run, 6 hours long, this ridiculous Cold War, propaganda, there was no “missile gap”, irrelevant and completely relevant again, Rogue Moon, an evil game show?, adapted into the film Moon (2009), hmmmmm.

Dilation - B7 Media

Recent Arrivals

More Recent Arrivals

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #514 – READALONG: Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #513 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in Galaxy July and September 1972, 41 years old, out of context, people getting grumpy, autobiographical?, writing himself into his book, unnerving, “problematic”, you wont like anything, very well written, censoring oneself, all internal thoughts, a thoughtful interesting book, an interior book, racial slurs, the fakest parts are the plot points, going around in elevators, how other people perceive him at parties, the Lumumba incident, getting beaten up, ghosting student essays, websites that advertise these services, students required to submit, text comparison, tuning the voice, Columbia University, a cat and mouse game, young and strong, failing powers, a real person, the most clumsy, detecting lies, becoming telepaths, getting vibes, a metaphor for (if not science fiction), curious, casual or romantic or natural experiments, the drug scene, trapped in our own heads, comparing actions with words, complaining about the essay, super-resentful, this is not going to work out well, he’s broke all the time, so dependent on his powers, how to deal with somebody, the whole Kitty storyline, Ted Chiang’s Understand, invisible to the superpower, a cheat or not a cheat, “defend”, a science fiction novel in which the narrator is uninterested in the rules behind it, the author hasn’t revealed the rules to the narrator, he’s AM and she’s FM, undistinguished in everything, she doesn’t put up a defense, paranoid, unlock her telepathic mind, a crepazoid being creepy, annoying, bringing your psychiatry on your wife, Charlaine Harris’ Dead Until Dark, what makes that a fantasy book, a fascinating attraction, would she have read this?, an avid reader in the 1970s, one of Silverberg’s best, as a metaphor, superbpaper.com, need help with your assignment, “we can write any paper on any subject on any deadline”, $29 per page, testimonials, making people have skills, Jesse has a lot of homework to do, Jesse’s not doing this for money, Jesse has the telepathy within narrow range, I’m dignified, he’s barely in the economy, people thinking sentences in their head, “he thinks in French”, Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, a shared document, Nixon shows up in a motorcade, if this book is a metaphor, trying to be telepathic with a later audience, Isaac Asimov, Lawrence Block, they communicate their ideas super-clearly, Greg Bear’s ideas, to him it makes sense, writing as telepathy, a writer’s inability to write, the autobiographical elements, things get thin until the 1980s, there’s life inside, the life may return, a massive output from the 1950s through the 1960s, the next novel is Lord Valentine’s Castle (eight year’s later), The Stochastic Man, Shadrach And The Furnace, The Book Of Skulls, like 50 stories in 1956, the same if not more, the magazine industry, Harlan Ellison, Donald Westlake, sleeze novels, writing pornography, that wonderful sequence, hopping from mind to mind, the bee, the girl, the farmer, the full fulmination of his power, why its a tragic story, wunderkind, a pathetic shlub, cheat his way through life, stockbroker, Alan Glynn’s The Dark Fields, inside information, insider trading, Dr. Hitner, the radio drama adaptation, read comic books and enjoy myself, when he gets into a fight, telegraphed, a rag-doll to be tossed about, have sex with girls is his major ambition, Paul’s own life, why Jesse has to make such pains to distinguish himself, volatile, a lot of parallels here, supermen aren’t going to be what you think they are, in dialogue with Slan by A.E. van Vogt, “slans are schlubs”, every allusion and reference, poets, painters, playwrights, philosophers, scientists, replete with thinking about books, a very philosophical novel, Odd John by Olaf Stapledon, The Hampdenshire Wonder by J.D. Beresford, semi-autobiographical, Arthur C. Clarke, he lives in our universe, a little bit too recursive, the 2001 BBC radio drama adaptation, rather condensed, he works at a bookshop, translated into an adaptation, if people complain…, Harlan Ellison and Silverberg, how much filler material they could add, the Aeschylus essay, the Franz Kafka essay in full, The Castle and The Trial, padding, fun reading, recycle some material, so fun to do that, a sad and depressing book?, tonally depressing, comparing your own life to Selig’s, The Book Of Skulls, holding back information, a very good writer, a promise to the reader, when is he composing this narrative?, nicely constructed, a blank in his history, distancing himself from himself, cheating, things are a little tight this month, because he’s given something early on in his life, manipulating the moment, if you only have 40 minutes to tell the story, the car section of the bookstore, definitely gay, the musclemen section of the bookstore, a repressed homosexual, the dean, how far you’ve fallen, this guy’s pathetic, reading about rocketships and robots, that actually hits home, he’s doing bad work for money, prostitution, his nephew, meeting Kitty on the street, so many girlfriends, I didn’t get your number but you weren’t there anyway, many many other uncles, here’s a picture of a bomb blowing somebody up, Judith probably told him to say that, the necessity of the face and the smile is the new truth, he could see beneath that truth, they’re told to smile, seeing below the surface is a grim reality, self-motivated, if you can take that away, they’re delighted to meet you, “I feel your pain.”, disdain for politicians, a very nice character piece on why it might not be so great to be telepathic, almost like growing up and not being a liar, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, Robert A. Heinlein, “Selig’s Complaint”, Silverberg could exist without Heinlein, parallel tracks (not tracts), Judith Beheading Holofernes, parallels with Judith of the bible, a nice jewish girl’s name, Zelig (1983), first observed at a part by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the secret history of reality, Selig’s death would mean almost nothing, an incredibly underwhelming superpower, the new wave, Alfred Bester, diddly shit, the jive-speak voice, keeps failing, Jesse wrote a lot of reviews, if its just a book, if its just a book then the temptation is to shit on it, baggage of your own, the demand for reviews, writing is a superpower you can waste by using a metaphor too much, sick of the treadmill, SFSignal doesn’t blog anymore (except on Twitter), gone to be a farmer, a different and happier place, the books doesn’t stop, new or underappreciated, still a good book, slightly less stuck in its time, the black dialogue is slightly different now, a historical piece, the power of the book is still with it, having lived through things and done things, “had I read it way back when”, a book for middle aged science fiction readers, they’ll feel it, hey kids you’re going to love Dying Inside!, when you’re young you read books differently, the depth of Selig’s plight, outright sexism, a pathetic character, once you’re inside somebody’s head you pretty much have to forgive them for everything, the crisis crisis, Airplane! (1980), I speak jive, subtitles, the sentences make sense, Diff’rent Strokes, cultures with different languages and vocabularies, well worth it.

Dying Inside from Galaxy, July 1972

Dying Inside from Galaxy, September 1972

Caedmon Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside (1979)

Frank Kelly Freas illustration of Dying Inside

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #510 – READALONG: Understand by Ted Chiang

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #510 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Wayne June talk about Understand by Ted Chiang

Talked about on today’s show:
still alive, still putting out stuff, novelette, an interesting topic, intelligence and stupidity, pair things up, an interesting and complex topic, the school system, true features, a story about an incredibly stupid guy, the title is not intelligence, a long traditon in Science Fiction, Flowers For Algernon, the arc that happens within it, Idiocracy (2006), The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, a lot of bad answers, a short theory, first impression, so success and smartness, very successful stupid people, Bill Maher on Stan Lee, wrong about a long of things, Jerry Springer, propelling interest, a calculated effect, a bigger issue, a Reading, Short And Deep, on YouTube, its about awareness, the “bubble” you’re in, the blinders you have, going back to first principles, how do you know what you think you know?, epistemology, jargon, technical talk, very skilled, you have to be super-intelligent to have written it, very studied, the integration of hard science into the story, super smooth, Arrival (2016), Story Of Your Life, the audiobook by Todd McClaren, the BBC version, a response to Flowers For Algernon, spinning out implications, fatal error, the end of the story, hypercritical, such a great metaphor, he’s a bomb, he’s about to go off, where he was coming from, lofty concepts, meta-cognition or thinking about one’s thinking, computer science, artificial intelligence, being self-aware, the nature of consciousness, the limits of our consciousness, hormone k, how far will intelligence get us, Leon and Reynolds, how to use it, conflicting philosophies and moralities, I I I, save the planet, how selfish Leon is, go transcendental, changing whole industries, the good guy won, the whole view of the outside world, the normals and their world, aesthetics and beauty vs. saving the world from itself, who are you to decide?, threw Wayne for a loop, kinda monstrous, admirable, Eric S. Rabkin, one of the few people alive I want to read, how do you think he made this?, as we see his growth, Limitless (2011), don’t bother with the TV show, super creative, stock market trading, the book, methamphetamine, set in the future, Asimov’s, August 1991, The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn, came out 2001, tweaking, in manic mode, less about accumulating new knowledge, going over and over and over, the way this story gives you the sense of intelligence growth, playing ahead, if this happens then this will happen, hacks in to a terminal at his doctor’s office, service port, a desktop safe, bio-metric device with a service port, all these steps to think ahead, what we think of as chess, teaching chess, constricting an opponents movements, fewer choices, anticipating, gestalt, an organized whole that is perceived than more than the sum of its parts, micromanaging details of everything, the gestalt of everything, the ultimate meaning of everything, as a result of his powers, read a person’s body language, intentions and nature, the smell of their pheromones, microscopic details, one little thing, the whole is much more than the sum of their parts, Sherlock Holmes to the nth degree, time chess to speed chess, transcendental enlightenment, he’s Buddha, the point of the story, an infinite staircase, close to futile, other creature’s intelligence, a critical mass thing, reading a Lovecraft story, consonance and resonance and sonar, animals that use sonar, bats and whales, sperm whales, massive resonance chambers, free divers, six times the size of a human brain, they have no hands, can’t forge metal, and have no writing implements, Icarus and Daedalus, father and son, godlike in their abilities, just like in Watchmen, already won, already in the trap, the note at the doctor’s office, gloating, his undoing, a real thing and a real phenomenon, vocabulary words, that gestalt and that surprise, the guy with the psychedelic shirt, an Inception (2010) story, literally happening all around us, advertising, my friend Maissa Bessada, skeletons, lesbians, two more skeletons, a pattern of acceptance and dissolving your preconceptions, that scene in Total Recall (1990), this is exactly why this is so effective (is because it can be so affective), René Girard’s triangular desire or mimetic desire, other monkeys, supreme manipulators, don’t participate or try to minimize it, the dominant chatter, chatter controls action, a slowdown, intelligence as getting what you want, what drops out of the story is everybody else in society, what makes Reynolds the good guy, a group animal, meaning and intelligence are tied together in a strong way, bad at math, can brain damage make you better at math?, his regret is evident, idiot savants, the CIA, Greco, accurate in assessing Reynolds, a reliable narrator, merely a savior, his judgement is optimal, how he justifies himself, people don’t trust themselves, a meta-human, how we’re supposed to think of him, once as an experiment on a drug dealer, testing your power, Joe Rogan, UFC, which system of fighting is the best system, how do you test it?, which techniques is really better, jujitsu, Steven Seagal, all about the testing, what techniques work, testing our limits, what animals do when they’re young, a drug dealer, drug users, a beneficent god in a certain sense, not without sin, not necessarily unironic, I dissolve, Word is capitalized, the Logos, page 116, the sentence that when uttered will destroy the mind of the listener, it makes the title a really clever punchline, meta-awareness, self-awareness, ultimate understanding, taxing the limits of the structure of my brain, tricks him into understanding, the trap, he’d already programmed him, triggering the word, he got what he wanted, very good, a really clever punchline, less science than it is fantasy, fetal brain tissue, repair when not rejected, anoxia, damage more parts of his brain, his former life, there’s no girlfriend, a business, looking at Understand through the lens of The Dark Fields, a line from The Great Gatsby, a book about people without purpose, enhancing what you have, about methamphetamine, to speed people up, more active, paradoxical effect, your brain is not an engine, the Le Mans 24 hour race, the continual racing, testing to endure, an extended amount of high performance, Reynold’s weapon, implants the mandala, beyond his endurance, a metaphor, composing poetry, emotional impacts from words, the right combination of words can make an audience explode, pointing to real things, how writers and ad writers get their money, an impact on the reader, we change our lives, we sacrifice peoples lives for words, more real than most things, those whales without tools, they have lives we can never understand, what they’re communicating and how they even live and hunt is incredibly complex, very rare, the lives of beings that are not like us, Lucy (2014), psychokinetics, Morgan Freeman babbling, that stupid bullshit, most people don’t use the engine at maximum RPM, sleep, rest for the cars engine, a new air filter, stress tests, adrenalin, a super fuel, super good, Mr Jim Moon puts out a lot of podcasts, working smart, have a plan and be open, wherever you can get progress you push, the journey of a thousand miles, Rome wasn’t built in a day, the Devil’s in the details, navigating and picking which ones to go with, attempts at wisdom, when smart people say stupid things, committed to a system or a person, made commitments that they were unwilling to examine, Exhalation, a robot who opens up his own brain, the Galen of the robot universe that he lives in, pneumatic, a self-consistent brilliant idea, examining the internal to examine the external, Jesse’s not a drug guy, the brain is thinking, the body is thinking, so inside your own brain, focus, memory and thought and action, a brilliant guy, amazing stories, he can’t really tell the truth here, he knows what truth sounds like and it sounds like this, that poetic canto, the art, two naked dudes, a skull brain, climbing out of his own brain, representing out two main characters, a metaphor for the hyper-intelligence, a symbol, not the size of your brain, brain body ratio, Protector by Larry Niven, a particular drive, how certain kinds of intelligence to survive, hummingbirds, we can create niche (or destroy the niche) we’re in, there are stupid people, lead, fetal alcohol, no comic books for 20 years, behavior, the right habits, intention and purpose, a self appointed savior, incompatible, almost into programing, no quotation marks, the meta-textual text you may miss in the audio, only one bit that tells you its in the future, Pittsburgh, white air filter masks, not necessarily a pollution thing, hoodies, restricting vision, feeling cozy, women are more likely to wear masks, all sorts of reasons, welder masks, keeping skin pale, it allows you to hide, license to do it, you’re the crazy ones, a critical mass, trends, everybody used to wear hats, the fashion man, smoking their asses off, vaping, people who would have been ashamed to be smoking, wearing baseball hats, cowboy hats, fake street kids, $200 t-shirts, strange phenomenon, what makes this story fantastic (fantasy), could there ever be a drug or hormone, a metaphor for a kind of approach to that direction, like the ending of Dagon, past tense with present tense interruptions, we don’t expect the ending because told first person in present tense, “I’m standing” not “I was standing”, Ted Chiang is doing what Reynolds is doing and we’re the protagonists.

Understand by Ted Chiang

Posted by Jesse Willis